Welcome back, Iowa Hawkeyes Basketball !!! Are you all ready for some basketball data ??? I know I am. Here we go!
The thing about data is that sometimes it seems to show something interesting and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m happy to report that something interesting happened at the Iowa season opener: Iowa beat North Carolina Central by 31 points in the 21 minutes that Keegan Murray was on the field. I’ll go into this in more detail in the following sections.
First, a review of my methods. I record how the team behaves when each player is on the court, and I’ve listed this data (for the North Carolina Central game) in the table below. « D PPP » is the number of points Iowa allows per possession. « O PPP » is the number of points Iowa scored per possession. « D Diff » is how much better or worse, in points per possession, Iowa’s defense got when that player was on the court (a negative number is better). « O Diff » is a corresponding statistic for Iowa’s offense (a positive number is better).
These are « / – » statistics that are used to track aspects of player performance that are absent from Box Score statistics. They are not perfect, there is no statistical metric, and they are notoriously unreliable when the sample size is small. For example, Iowa allowed 0. 47 points less per possession than Bohannon was in play. I’d bet the greatest defensive player of all time wouldn’t improve our defense that much on average over a season. Either Bohannon is the best defensive player in basketball history or / – you can get strange results in small samples.
Even so, there were a few things I noticed. First, as mentioned above, the Hawks destroyed the Chanticleers ?, Billikens? Eagles (lame! Overrated band) when Keegan Murray was on the pitch. In the first half, Keegan was on the ground for 14 offensive possessions and 16 defensive possessions. During that time, Iowa scored 24 points and allowed only 7 points. In the second half he played 23 offensive possessions (22 defensive possessions) in which Iowa scored 40 points and allowed 26 points. Overall, Iowa prevailed against the Eagles 64-33 in the ~ 38 holdings when Keegan was on the ground. That comes out to 1. 73 points scored and 0. 87 points allowed per possession. It’s a paddle. .
The boxing rating and eye test also suggested Keegan had a nice debut, but let’s face it, it’s not like he’s the best Michael Jordan as his / – suggests. It’s at least a little uncomfortable that he’s so good. There were 34 possessions in the first half. It was 22-22 after 17 possessions, but the next 17 possessions were 22-7 for Iowa. The first 18 possessions of the second half were 30-16 in favor of the Hawks, while the last 18 possessions of the game were 23-22, so the Hawkeyes did most of their damage during the middle portion of the game. The beginning and the end were pretty even. Keegan was on the floor during this crucial phase of the game and / – loves him for it.
Even so, he clearly played well and appears to be a potential contributor this season. That fact, along with Pat McCaffery’s breakout performance, were the two most encouraging takeaways from the game for me. In my opinion, the power-forward course is crucial for Iowa to play enough defense to clear the bar this season. I’m not sure Jack Nunge has the speed needed to play a lot of power forward in today’s game, and I don’t think Joe Wieskamp and Connor McCaffery as power forwards will give us enough length. Both Pat and Keegan look like they could give us some length to protect the lane while still having enough athleticism to defend on the perimeter. For me, this is the most sensible way for this team to be good enough defensively to achieve its goals. It is unreasonable to expect a drastic improvement in defense from someone like Bohannon since, as my data clearly shows, he is already the best defensive player of all time.
There were a few other notable things from Wednesday’s game. The first is that the first five hardly played together: only 11 offensive possessions and 12 defensive possessions. This is partly due to the fact that this year’s team is lower than last year’s squad, but also to the fact that Wieskamp caught a quick foul at the beginning of the second half and sat immediately. The second point is that by the end of the game the bank mob was really fighting defensively. After Iowa defeated Toussaint, they gave up 18 points in their last 12 possessions, which really hurt the game’s overall defensive efficiency. In particular, I noticed that Perkins was being burned repeatedly on that end of the floor, which was disappointing. When I got into the season I thought he might give us a spark on that end of the floor, but it sure didn’t look like it on Wednesday.
The last thing to note is that Iowa set up 1. 41 points per possession when Garza was in play but still scored 1. 38 points per possession in Garza’s absence, so there wasn’t much of a drop. Obviously, this is just a sample size for a game against weak competition, but it’s encouraging nonetheless. Last year’s team scored 1. 15 points per possession when Garza was on the ground and only 1. 01 when he was outside. If Garza left the game last season, the offense has lost a lot of its effectiveness. If Iowa manages to keep getting a good clip this season in Garza’s absence, that would be a very nice development indeed.
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World News – USA – France Iowa-NC Central: Keegan Murray had a great time debut
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